There’s no doubt that the long-term injuries to Nico Zaniolo and Gini Wijnaldum will limit Jose Mourinho’s options. Andrea Belotti has arrived, and Mady Camara isn’t far behind, but until they’re both up to speed, the midfield and attacking options are just a bit thinner than Roma’s manager likely prefers. Fortunately, Tiago Pinto beefed up Roma’s roster with quality depth around the pitch, even if some of it is a bit late arriving.
And Roma’s roster is deeper at full-back than it has been in years, Starting with the emergence of Leonardo Spinazzola and Rick Karsdorp as legit starters two seasons ago, the full-back position finally boasted two legit starters, but there was limited depth behind the starters. However, thanks to Nicola Zalewski’s breakout campaign last season and the arrival of Zeki Celik this season, full-back has suddenly become a strength for Roma.
On Saturday in Turin, the two entrenched starters—Spinazzola and Karsdorp—flopped while their replacements played well. So, with performances being what they were and the quick 72-hour turnaround between matches, expect Zalewski and Celik to get the starts when Roma hosts Monza.
Meanwhile, it’s possible that we could see another one to two changes from the starting eleven that struggled against Juventus in the first half at the Allianz Stadium. Stephan El Shaarawy provided a spark off the bench in the second half and will likely start alongside Paulo Dybala in the attacking midfield. El Shaarawy’s start means that Lorenzo Pellegrini will drop back to central midfield. That will push either Bryan Cristante or Nemanja Matic to the bench.
Considering Cristante has played all 270 of Roma’s minutes so far, it could be the veteran Serbian that gets the nod to give the Italian a little rest. For that reason, it’s also possible that Max Kumbulla could spell either Chris Smalling or Roger Ibanez.
ROMA (3-4-2-1): Patricio; Ibanez, Smalling, Mancini; Zalewski, Matic, Pellegrini, Celik; El Shaarawy, Dybala; Abraham